The Lord of the Rings TV series needs to steer clear of this Game of Thrones error

Laura Jane Turner
·4 min read
Photo credit: New Line Cinema
Photo credit: New Line Cinema

From Digital Spy

After the widespread success of Game of Thrones (which, to further illustrate that point, was just voted Digital Spy's greatest television programme of the 21st century), it was a surprise to pretty much nobody that other broadcasters were going to try and get in on that action.

As such, when it was announced that Amazon would be bringing Lord of the Rings back to our screens – even if on a smaller scale – the comparisons swiftly followed.

Well they do each boast their own historically-rich worlds, mythologies and an assortment of weird and wonderful fantasy creatures. Plus, when it comes to shaping it for telly, Bryan Cogman, who wrote and produced a number of GoT episodes across the seasons, is said to be consulting on the new Lord of the Rings series.

Photo credit: Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

In most recent news, reports suggest that Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings might also be about to share something else in common: S. E. X.

According to a casting call (first spotted by LOTR fan website The One Ring), the TV adaptation is looking for actors who are "comfortable with nudity", while the series is said to have also hired an intimacy coordinator.

All of this spells out one steamy suggestion: Middle Earth is about to get raunchy.

Although nothing has been officially confirmed by Amazon or show bosses, this update has once again fuelled talk of possible parallels between the upcoming LOTR series and HBO's epic eight-season juggernaut.

One of the biggest criticisms of Game of Thrones (yes, this is us sidestepping the discourse surrounding its finale episodes) is how it used sex and nudity. Often salacious and gratuitous, sex was routinely intertwined with violence and furthering power imbalances.

The tone was set from the off, with GoT's pilot episode incorporating a rape scene between Daenerys (played by Emilia Clarke) and Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa).

Photo credit: HBO
Photo credit: HBO

Author and creator George R R Martin recently criticised the TV adaptation's portrayal, arguing that it deviated from the "consensual" encounter laid out in the books.

"Why did the wedding scene change from the consensual seduction scene that excited even a horse to the brutal rape of Emilia Clarke?" he asked, arguing that it made things "worse not better."

Fundamentally, this was always an editorial decision for Thrones no matter how you wish to frame it.

The character's marriage was always to be forced, whether you were reading from the page or watching it unfold on your screen, and Daenerys' young age in the book would still have meant that the encounter would be categorised as rape.

While depiction does not equate to endorsement, the brutal and exploitative nature of the scene set the precedent for what would become one of the show's biggest and most talked-about 'selling' points: anyone could strip off at a moment's notice, and have at it with anyone else.

For many fans of JRR Tolkien's work, the notion of Elf orgies or Hobbit bed-hopping is pure sacrilege. The novels, after all, did not include explicit detail of sexual encounters, and neither did the three movies. And not that sexuality is unique to women, of course, but the books featured even fewer female characters than the films, and that's saying something. Even from a heterosexual viewpoint, let alone – gasp! – any others, the idea of sex is a long overdue development in Middle Earth.

It must have existed within the fictional universe, after all.

Photo credit: Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Let's not forget that Aragorn and Arwen's love was a thread woven through the trilogy, and was a union which bore a son by the name of Eldarion. Meanwhile, having made it back after following his best friend Frodo to the fiery caverns of Mount Doom, Sam finally got the girl and started a family with Rosie.

It was all terribly wholesome and chastely romantic, but you'd presume that sex was involved in one way or another, unless the younger generations were to "spring out of holes in the ground", as Gimli, son of Glóin, joked in The Two Towers.

As much as Lord of the Rings is a tale of good versus evil, and the ways in which ordinary folk would fare in the face of overwhelming darkness, it is also a story of love and passion.

The addition of more overt sex is not, in and of itself, a bad move. It ultimately just depends on how it is handled, and whether it serves the greater purpose of Tolkien's intended storytelling or if, in fact, it detracts from it.

Despite the internet chatter, we will reserve our judgement until we're able to see for ourselves – whether with, or without, boobs and bums.

Lord of the Rings will air on Amazon Prime, with no confirmed release date yet. Game of Thrones seasons 1-8 are now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

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